The University of Wisconsin’s new alcohol policy for campus events will start at the start of the spring 2014 semester.
University Health Services Director Sarah Van Orman said primary updates include more effective communication and accessibility to awareness of policy, detailed description of UW events where alcohol can be served and new guidelines for event location and attendance.
The task force hopes to clarify on which events are appropriate for serving alcohol, Van Orman said.
Recommendations to current policy were initiated by a task force appointed by Vice Chancellor Darrell Bazzell in the spring of 2012, Van Orman said.
Discussion and consideration of the suggested changes was carried out through a vetted process by administration and associates, according to a UW statement.
The task force mainly consisted of staff and faculty, but Maria Giannopoulos, an Associated Students of Madison representative, was there on behalf of students, Van Orman said.
ASM Chair David Gardner said there was a lot of discussion on the policy in recent student governance sessions.
“I think there is a lot of congruence in the policy that is being enforced now,” Gardner said, adding that it was valuable to make sure students spoke up and that the task force saw it important to ensure there was representation and input from the student body.
The inclusion of graduate students in the process has been active since the legislative work of last year, Gardner said. He said the policy serves legal compliance of groups and maintains flexibility.
“I’m really happy to see that there is student involvement in the plan,” Gardner said. “For the future we always want to make sure that there is student involvement in policy.”
Initiation of the task force originally stemmed from concerns that policy had not been reviewed in a number of years, Van Orman said.
Other reasons that motivated the revamp were clarity of and definitive access to alcohol policy, she said. Older policy did not directly state what type of events and occasions were applicable to the serving of alcohol, she said.
One established requirement for future events that serve alcohol states that at least two-thirds of attendees must be of the legal drinking age, Van Orman said. In addition, events must have an employee that has gone through a certified training and received a permit to serve alcohol at each event and there will also need to be alternative refreshments and food at each event, she said.
Regarding confusion of past events such as formal gatherings, underage students will not likely see a significant amount of change between old and new policy as UW will continue to adhere to policy and law on the legal age for alcohol consumption, Van Orman said. Undergraduate students who are of legal age will be able to continue hosting events at restaurants that serve alcohol, she said.
Graduate and professional students will be allowed to host on campus events that serve alcohol as long as they follow policy, Van Orman said.